I must admit I am disloyal. At least when it comes to grocery stores. Sometimes I feel the compulsion to purchase as ethically as possible, and other times I just want the cheapest vegetables I can find. Thankfully, Cambie corridor has a wide variety of grocery stores to meet any feeling at a given moment. Working from South to North, these are the benefits and drawbacks of each grocery store.
Located at 3493 Cambie Street, this is the only grocery store along Cambie Street between the Safeway at Oakridge Centre on 41st Street and the cluster of grocery stores at Broadway-City Hall skytrain station. Choices Markets is a BC owned and operated chain that supports local farmers and food makers, as well as contributing to local community building. I enjoy supporting local businesses and feel good about contributing to the economy in my area, however my wallet can’t afford to do this all the time. For those who can and are looking for natural, organic and specialty foods, Choices carries a great variety, including fair trade items and a gluten-free bakery.
Kin’s Farm Market
Located in City Square Mall at 555 West 12th Avenue and at Oakridge Centre, this is a more affordable grocery store that strives to deliver fresh produce by sourcing from local farmers. They are known for their family-team environment, but those looking to meet special dietary needs probably won’t be satisfied here. Kin’s has some of the lowest prices in fruit and often has great deals on produce, so it’s always worth stopping by.
Also located in City Square Mall at 555 and Oakridge Centre, this grocery store chain has a wide variety of selection and well as full-service options, like a pharmacy, bakery, and household goods. There isn’t much focus on local products, but they carry options for both lower priced generic brand and higher priced ethical goods.
A & L Market
Located at 458 West Broadway, right beside Broadway-City Hall Canada line skytrain station and the 99-B line bus stop (Eastbound toward Commercial-Broadway station), this smaller grocery store epitomizes convenience. Their produce and meat prices are consistently the lowest, but don’t expect to find any focus on local, organic, or GMO-free products. They also have a decent selection of Asian good, although definitely not as much selection as T & T. This place gets crowded during rush hour, but don’t be turned off by the long checkout line because their cashiers are exceptionally efficient.
Located at 310 West Broadway Vancouver, No Frills offers similar selection to its big sister grocery chain Superstore, including a pharmacy. It is able to provide lower food prices by reducing operating costs—that means no costly displays and advertising or in store meat cutting or bakery. Their “won’t be beat” slogan promises to price match any competitors with flyer proof. Although a bit off Cambie, I think it’s worth the trip for the wider selection at great prices.
Located at 510 West 8th Avenue, this is the place I go for a splurge that I can feel good about. This higher end grocery store has a huge selection of specialty products to meet any dietary need. For example, if you are lactose intolerant, but still want to enjoy delicious yogurt, my favourite is Yoso coconut yogurt in the chocolate flavour with chia seeds sprinkled on top. Whole Foods cares are about environmental stewardship, ethical sourcing, and ecological sustainability. They prohibit the use of artificial colourings, flavourings, preservatives, hydronated oils, high fructose corn syrup in their food ingredients and only source antibiotic and pesticide-free meat and seafood, They developed their own Eco-Scale cleaning product standards and organic certification for body care products. I like to think of this place as the grocery store I would go to if money were not an object.
Located at 2308 Cambie Street, this popular grocery chain has great quality and selection. I think of Save-On as a sort of middle ground, where I can find decently priced products with a bit of an ethical edge. For example, they have SeaChoice sustainable seafood options and a number of local products. They also have pharmacy and full service bakery.